Halle Bailey stands by Disney princess Rachel Zegler during 'Snow White' controversy
Disney princesses stand together amid backlash over "Snow White" casting.
Amidst a fresh wave of criticism surrounding Disney's latest remake, the live-action princesses are standing in solidarity. Halle Bailey, known for her role as Ariel in the upcoming version of "The Little Mermaid," recently expressed her support for fellow actor Rachel Zegler, who is set to star in Disney's revival of "Snow White." The controversy was sparked by leaked production photos from the set of "Snow White," which reignited outrage over the film's cast.
In response to the backlash, Zegler took to Twitter to thank those defending her online, while also requesting not to be tagged in the nonsensical discourse surrounding her casting. The young star, who has appeared in "West Side Story" and "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," shared adorable childhood photos of herself dressed as Snow White, emphasizing that every child can be a princess, regardless of any societal norms or expectations.
Coming to Zegler's defense was none other than her fellow Disney princess, Bailey, who expressed her love and support for Zegler, referring to her as the perfect princess. Zegler reciprocated the affection, declaring her love for Bailey. This heartwarming exchange on Twitter occurred shortly after the Daily Mail published the controversial set photos from "Snow White." These images depicted the main character and seven companions, seemingly representing a diverse range of ages, genders, races, and sizes, akin to the original film's "Seven Dwarfs."
Initially, Disney dismissed the behind-the-scenes photos as fake, but later clarified that they were indeed taken on the real set in Berkshire, England. However, the studio emphasized that these were not official images released by the production and that stand-ins were used instead of the actual actors. The release of these photos prompted conservatives on social media to criticize what they saw as a "woke" and "politically correct" approach to casting the film. Unfortunately, much of the criticism targeted Zegler, with racist remarks aimed at her Colombian and Polish heritage.
Zegler had already addressed the backlash surrounding the movie when she spoke to Vanity Fair last year. She defended the decision to present a more inclusive and modern version of Snow White, stating that the original cartoon was 85 years old and in need of a refreshing story that goes beyond the traditional narrative of waiting for a prince. In response to her casting, Zegler also took to Twitter to assert that she would not be bleaching her skin for the role, shutting down any suggestions of conforming to unrealistic beauty standards.
It is important to note that "Snow White" is not the first live-action Disney remake to face online criticism. When Bailey was cast as Ariel in 2019, there was a flood of racist complaints, accompanied by the hashtag #NotMyAriel. In September 2022, Zegler addressed someone who expressed approval of her casting in "Snow White" but not Bailey's casting in "The Little Mermaid." Zegler made it clear that supporting one princess meant supporting them all, emphasizing Bailey's perfect portrayal of Ariel.
In conclusion, the live-action Disney princesses are standing together in the face of backlash. Bailey and Zegler have shown unwavering support for each other, promoting inclusivity and diversity in the portrayal of iconic princess characters. While controversy continues to surround the remakes, these talented actors remain resilient, reminding us that every child can be a princess, regardless of societal expectations or prejudices.